Susan Pascoe, Our Commissioner

ACNC 2015-16 Annual Report

On 27 October 2016 the ACNC’s Annual Report was tabled in the Senate. The 2015-16 edition marked the fourth time we have presented an annual report to Parliament.

I note at the outset our appreciation to the Government for announcing the long-term future of the ACNC. The announcement on 4 March 2016 of the Government’s intention to retain the ACNC was a recognition of the contribution of the ACNC’s regulatory oversight to maintaining trust and confidence in charities, and to supporting their sustainability.

Other highlights included:

  • Landmark red tape reduction announcements by the South Australian and Tasmanian Governments
  • The launch of the 2014 Australian Charities Report, including financial data on this $126b sector
  • Increased use of the Charity Register
  • Our continued commitment to ensuring an accurate and up-to-date Charity Register
  • Our Charity Portal’s award win in the Digital Transformation Awards
  • Registration of 2,800 new charities and customer satisfaction with the registration process remaining at 94%
  • Opening 50% more compliance investigations in 2015-16 compared to 2014-15

You can download a copy of the 2015-16 annual report at acnc.gov.au/annualreport.

If you would like a hard copy of the annual report, you can email our Education and Public Affairs team at education@acnc.gov.au.

Ask ACNC continues in NSW

While the ACNC is a digital-by-default agency, we also strive to meet with charities face to face, to help them understand how to meet their obligations and also for ACNC staff to hear about the issues charities are facing.

Ask ACNC will be visiting two more cities in New South Wales in the coming weeks:

  • Wagga Wagga - 18 November
  • Tamworth - 21 November

Charities in Wagga Wagga will also have the opportunity to hear from the Member for Riverina, and Minister for Small Business (the Minister responsible for the ACNC), the Hon Michael McCormack MP.

In a media statement the Minister encouraged local charities to attend.

“The Riverina has around 500 registered charities,” Mr McCormack said.

“Many of our local charities operate with very limited resources and some are run solely by volunteers.

“The ACNC are visiting the region for the first time to offer free financial training, which is a fantastic opportunity for charities.

“The ACNC Commissioner and I are looking forward to hearing firsthand from local charities about the important work they’re doing in the community and issues they’re facing.”

Places are limited, so I encourage you to book your spot as soon as possible. You can register to attend either the Wagga Wagga session or the Tamworth session at acnc.gov.au/askacnc.

Revocation of Village Green Community Foundation

Last week Assistant Commissioner David Locke announced the revocation of the Village Green Community Foundation (ABN 84981417144).

The ACNC revoked the organisation’s charity status on 12 October 2016 following a compliance investigation, and backdated the revocation date to 1 July 2013.

The organisation has 60 days from the date of revocation to object to the ACNC’s decision.

The full list of ACNC compliance activity, including undertakings, directions and revocations, can be found at acnc.gov.au/compliancedecisions.

In 2015-16 we received 930 concerns about charities, a new record for a 12-month period and a significant increase compared to the 810 we received the year prior.

Around two-thirds of these concerns are raised by members of the public.

To raise a concern about a charity, members of the public can visit acnc.gov.au/charityconcern, or call us on 13 ACNC.

2016 Annual Information Statement reminders and resources

As regular readers of this column will know, registered charities are required to submit an Annual Information Statement to the ACNC each year. Failure to do so can be grounds for revocation of charity status.

The exact due date for the Annual Information Statement differs depending on the charity’s reporting period. You can read more about reporting periods at acnc.gov.au/duedate.

The majority of registered charities will either use a standard financial reporting period of 1 July to 30 June, or a calendar reporting year of 1 January to 31 December.

For those charities using the standard 1 July to 30 June reporting period, the 2016 Annual Information Statement is due by 31 January 2017. The extension of the deadline from 31 December to 31 January is to account for the summer holiday period and the Australian Public Service shutdown between Christmas and New Year.

Reminder emails and letters are progressively being sent to charities to advise them of their due date and to offer our latest resources.

In addition to contacting our Advice Services team, charities have access to a user-friendly guide, a checklist and step-by-step screencasts.

These helpful (and free) resources are specifically designed to help charities work through and submit their 2016 Annual Information Statement accurately, and on time.

You can find a link to all of our 2016 Annual Information Statement resources at acnc.gov.au/2016ais.

Law changes for Victorian not-for-profits

From 1 January 2017 new legislation will apply to all Victorian organisations, including not-for-profits, that work with children.

The new law requires Victorian organisations to meet the seven Child Safe Standards, which aim to create a culture of child safety. You can find the Child Safe Standards and the three key principles of child safety at ccyp.vic.gov.au.

To help Victorian not-for-profits ensure that they are prepared to meet the new requirements, Moores Legal and Our Community have partnered to provide free information sessions.

You can find more information about the sessions at ourcommunity.com.au.

Good wishes
Susan Pascoe AM

Contact us

Our phone number is 13 ACNC (13 22 62) or you can email us at advice@acnc.gov.au.
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